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Opening Statement of Hon. Silvestre Reyes, Democratic Member, Subcommittee on Health

Thank you Chairwoman Buerkle and Ranking Member Michaud for convening this hearing.

Over the past decade, our nation has seen the effects of two wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  Over 2 million service members have been deployed to these regions during that time period and have selflessly served our nation.  These brave men and women and their families have endured a lot. 

After completion of their honorable service, many of these men and women will leave our military and return to civilian life.  The process of reintegration into the local community is nothing new, as we have had countless numbers of veterans leave military service over the years to seek civilian employment.

Unfortunately, this process of reintegration has not always gone smoothly.  Many Vietnam Veterans did not receive the care and respect they deserved once they left the military.  This cannot occur with our veterans today.  Therefore, we must ensure that our service members, veterans, and their families receive the help they need and that they have the necessary tools to re-join their communities.           

Reintegration is a cooperative effort among the federal government, the business sector, and community organizations, ensuring that our veterans are welcomed back into the local communities where they can contribute as proud, hard-working citizens.  They must receive the care and consideration they have earned.